Author Topic: Souring a Berliner Weisse  (Read 1841 times)

Offline cfleisher

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Souring a Berliner Weisse
« on: March 04, 2013, 09:41:09 PM »
I've got a vial of the WLP630 Berliner Weisse Blend and am wondering whether I need to leave the wort to sour, or if I can do a standard brew process and rely on this yeast to deliver enough tartness. I want a beer that's true to style and don't want to go overboard on the sourness. Anybody have experience with this yeast?
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 05:51:36 AM »
My experience with this blend is that it will not be sour enough, for me anyway.  I let it sit for six months.  Next one I make I'm going the sour mash route.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 07:52:29 AM »
You can rely on the yeast, but it will take a while and may never get to the tartness you want. I've had ones that tasted like weak wheat beer after six months. I've heard other people have used it successfully. Lactobacillus likes very warm temperatures (like 100F), so it would probably help to age it as warm as possible.
 
I try it and if you want more sourness next time, try a sour mash.
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Offline garc_mall

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 09:03:04 AM »
I have not tried this with a Berliner Weisse, but I did do it with a Flanders red, and it worked very well. I was rereading Raj Apte's treatise on Flanders red and brown ales, and he noted in there that brett and lacto produce more souring components when they are forced to work on starches rather than dextrins.

I took about 1/2 cup of flour, and boiled it in a couple cups of water to sanitize, and then added it to the fermenter. I gave it another couple months, and now the acidity is right up there. You could also see the starch haze disappear over 1-2 months.

I also agree that a sour mash may be your best bet.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 10:13:46 AM »
I also agree that a sour mash may be your best bet.

It is faster - the sourness develops in 24 hours - and since you boil after the mash, the acidity level is stable and you have zero worries about contaminating other equipment.

There is a sour-mashed berliner recipe in the latest eZymurgy (April 2013).
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 10:22:02 AM by mtnrockhopper »
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 03:00:53 PM »
I have not tried this with a Berliner Weisse, but I did do it with a Flanders red, and it worked very well. I was rereading Raj Apte's treatise on Flanders red and brown ales, and he noted in there that brett and lacto produce more souring components when they are forced to work on starches rather than dextrins.

I took about 1/2 cup of flour, and boiled it in a couple cups of water to sanitize, and then added it to the fermenter. I gave it another couple months, and now the acidity is right up there. You could also see the starch haze disappear over 1-2 months.

That's pretty interesting info.  It's tough to get the perfect level of sourness, but that may be the trick.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 08:07:10 AM »
I've had some sours that turned out really sour, and some that didn't.  Not sure of the starch idea, after all theres 25% of the OG left as nonfermentables in an average beer.  You'd think that'd be enough food for the bugs.  Some of my most sour beers came from using dregs which I suspect have a lot of bacteria in them.  So my own two cents is to use more bacteria, and possibly warmer temps that they like.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 01:52:12 PM »
I recall there was some interesting information on this in the Berliner Weiss part of the Fuhmentaboudit podcasts:

http://www.heritageradionetwork.org/episodes/3376-Fuhmentaboudit-Episode-5-Historical-Beers-with-Dr-Fritz-Briem

and a bit on kettle souring:
http://www.heritageradionetwork.org/episodes/3402-Fuhmentaboudit-Episode-6-Berliner-Weisse-and-Gratzer-Beers

It has been a while since I listened to them, so I cannot recall any specific advice.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 02:09:01 PM »
A lacto starter has been the most consistent souring method for me. I pitch a 5/1 ratio of lacto to sacc at ale temps. Great acidity within a week, and no less complex a beer than one produced with a lengthy secondary acid fermentation or a sour mash.

The lacto culture from Wyeast or White Labs is a bit more expensive to start, but its reliable and can be kept alive in a few liters of starter wort.

I got the pitch ratio from a 2012 NHC presentation. Definitely worth a listen:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/homebrewing-seminars/2012?cid=FdLNrG%2bg6pA519kcsIMI7w%3d%3d&redirect=http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/homebrewing-seminars/2012
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Offline cfleisher

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 06:29:20 PM »
Excellent. These are all great suggestions. Sounds like I should give the sour mash a try.

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Offline lornemagill

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 08:43:15 PM »
i have done 3 berliners.  the first was lacto pitched first then an ale yeast pitched 3 days later...it wasnt sour enough.  the second two were sour mashed and turned out good.   i sour mashed the second for 24hrs and the third 48hrs. the last got a 34 score at NHC 2012.  in the future i will not sour mash but split the batch and innoculate one with lacto and the other with ale yeast then blend.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2013, 05:21:33 AM »
That Zymurgy article also has syrup recipes that I am going to try.  When sour mashing, how do you sanitize the mash tun following the souring?  I would need to use a picnic cooler to hope to maintain temps....but I would hate to have a permanent sour only vessel.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2013, 06:47:54 AM »
That Zymurgy article also has syrup recipes that I am going to try.  When sour mashing, how do you sanitize the mash tun following the souring?  I would need to use a picnic cooler to hope to maintain temps....but I would hate to have a permanent sour only vessel.
You could sanitize it with your favorite sanitizer and then fill it with boiling water. That should kill anything sticking around.
 
If you have an electric blanket, wrap it around the cooler during the souring to help keep the temperature up.
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Offline phunhog

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2013, 07:39:26 AM »
That Zymurgy article also has syrup recipes that I am going to try.  When sour mashing, how do you sanitize the mash tun following the souring?  I would need to use a picnic cooler to hope to maintain temps....but I would hate to have a permanent sour only vessel.

I am going to make my first BW using an old mashtun/picnic cooler to maintain temps.  I wouldn't think it would be a big deal if it did get contaminated. Anything that comes out of that will eventually be boiled for  at least 60 minutes...not to mention that any mash is only going to last 60 minutes. That wouldnt be enough time( I don't think) to pick up any lacto sourness.

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Souring a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2013, 08:02:31 AM »
I am going to make my first BW using an old mashtun/picnic cooler to maintain temps.  I wouldn't think it would be a big deal if it did get contaminated. Anything that comes out of that will eventually be boiled for  at least 60 minutes...not to mention that any mash is only going to last 60 minutes. That wouldnt be enough time( I don't think) to pick up any lacto sourness.

That's also a good point. In fact, since lacto is present on grains anyway - the mash tun is innoculated every time you mash. My friend skips cultures and innoculates his sour worts with 1lb of uncrushed grain.
Jimmy K

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